Archive for January, 2010

Now I Understand

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

So now I finally understand why Tina has seemed so stressed about getting the floor done and putting the kitchen back together. Last night, she threw me the best surprise birthday party ever! I knew that a couple of my friends were coming up from CT for dinner but I also knew that they wouldn’t care what state the house was in. Thankfully, we finished just in time and this was a non-issue.

Jay, Catie, and Steve arrived in the afternoon and Tina suggested that we go grab a beer before dinner. We headed to the Captain Kidd in Woods Hole and grabbed a table in the back room. After the first round of beer, Jay began complaining of a stomach ache and switched to water. Sometime during the second round, he disappeared to the men’s room. When he came back, he asked Tina if she could push dinner back an hour and run back to our house. Tina reluctantly agreed and placed a call to the restaurant. We raced back to the house. I rushed to the door to let Jay in and immediately noticed the odd glow coming from the dining room. The house had been decorated in a very festive, Mexican-themed way. I cautiously proceeded further into the house. As I rounded the corner into the livingroom, I was greeted by a 30-voice harmony shouting “SURPRISE!!!”

And surprised I was! The rest of the night was a fantastic blur that included, among other things:

*The first Chronic Cape Guac-off


*A never-ending supply of margaritas

*Piñata (it broke more easily with an aluminum bat that a whiffle ball bat).

*The best rendition of Happy Birthday I’ve ever heard, including four-part harmony


*Dancing with cats!

I think a good time was had by all. I certainly enjoyed it. Best surprise party ever!

A Bit of Plumbing

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Tonight’s after work project was plumbing. It was time to get the sink hooked up again. I had finally found a cheap, single-handle faucet to replace the leaking faucet. We’ll upgrade to a nicer faucet when we upgrade the sink sometime in the future. Here’s the bare sink:

Waiting for me to reconnect the supply and drain lines:

We have running water in our kitchen again! No more washing dishes in the bathroom:

Install Cabinets

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I started the process of reinstalling the cabinets yesterday but didn’t make it very far.  I raised the supports for the back of the counter
and tried to get the cabinets in place.  I couldn’t get anything squared up and was getting pretty frustrated. I decided that maybe the cabinets were never really square to begin with (I didn’t check when I removed them) and I tried to get them in place as best as possible.  When I tried to screw them down, I discovered that the original screws were no match for the hickory!

We stopped at the lumber yard and got some longer screws on the way to work this morning.  When we got home, I got back to work on the cabinets.  Before long, I had them reinstalled:

I finished up by getting the dishwasher in place, securing the end cabinet and reinstalling the counter top. This place is starting to look like a house again!

The Floor is Finished

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Sunday morning, the last day of our vacation.  We headed downstairs to check on the floors.  The measles were gone!  The last coat looked great! By late afternoon, we were able to walk on it.  We headed downstairs with the cats (who had been stuck upstairs for the last half-month) to check things out.  The living room looks pretty good:

Noche approves of the kitchen:

Here’s the detail of what we did under the cabinets.  This is the spot for the stove.  We added an extra board in case  it was possible to see in between the stove and the cabinets.  The hickory runs about 2 inches under the cabinets everywhere else:

Here’s another view of the bridge in to the guest room:

And this is how we applied tung oil under the remaining cabinet:

We brought up some furniture and sat on our couch for the first time since May!  This was definitely a champagne-worthy occasion.  A toast to success:

A family portrait:

Continued celebration:

Finishing the Floor – Day Five

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Joy!  The test board from yesterday looked normal.  We were going to be able to fix the floor.  With that good news, I set to work hand sanding the whole floor.  If I knew where my palm sander was I could have used that.  Instead, I spent a few hours going over the whole floor (500+ sq ft), taking out the bumps and lightly scuffing the rest of the finish.  Once that was done, I started the more difficult task of removing all of the dust.  I began by gently sweeping up as much as I could while avoiding the knot holes.  Then, I wiped the whole floor down with tack cloths.  Once I had the floor nearly dust free, I used the shop vac to suck the dust out of the knots.  Hopefully the vacuum doesn’t catch on fire before I get around to changing the filter!  With that done, we proceeded to spread the fourth and final coat of tung oil.  This time, we were much more careful about opening the windows after and we waited as long as possible to turn the heat back on.  We didn’t want any dust getting blown on to the floor!  We headed back upstairs to wait for the results…

Finishing the Floor – Day Four

Friday, January 1st, 2010

When we headed downstairs this morning we could see something wasn’t right with the surface of the floor.  Once we were able to walk on it, we examined it more closely.  There were little bits of congealed tung oil all over the floor.  It looked like the floor had some sort of mange.  It looked like we had ruined the floor.  Tina was overcome with panic and frustration.  I slipped into a deep depression.  We had ruined our beautiful floor.

I called Carlisle for advice and got their voice mail system.  Since it was a holiday, I didn’t expect anyone to answer.  They did give an emergency cell number so I called that and left a message.  Much to my surprise, I got a call back in about 10 minutes.  The specialist on call for the weekend talked to me for at least half an hour.  He knew exactly what I was talking about, offered some possible causes (perhaps some dust got on the floor or the floor wasn’t quite dry enough when we put the third coat on), and outlined a plan to fix the floor.  He suggested that we let the floor continue to dry for a while and then sand the floor.  He was certain that if I did that, the fourth coat would go on just fine.

I spent much of the rest of the day stressing about whether I would actually be able to fix this.  I decided to try it on a particularly bad board in the corner of the dining room.  I put some 220-grit sandpaper on a drywall sanding pole and sanded until the bumps were smooth.  The sanded spot definitely felt smooth, but you could see where the bumps had been.  There were now cloudy white spots where the bumps had been!  I cleaned up the dust and spread some tung oil over the test patch with rag.  Then, I headed upstairs to wait to see how things would turn out…